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[2] What nations occupied it first, and who came after them, it is not very important for me to inquire, in writing merely Roman history. However, I think that the Celts, passing over the Pyrenees at some former time, mingled with the natives, and that the name Celtiberia originated in that way. I think also that from an early time the Phœnicians frequented Spain for purposes of trade, and occupied certain places there. In like manner the Greeks visited Tartessus and its king Arganthonius,1 and some of them settled in Spain; for the kingdom of Arganthonius was in Spain. It is my opinion that Tartessus was then the city on the seashore which is now called Carpessus. I think also that the Phoenicians built the temple of Hercules which stands at the straits. The religious rites performed there are still of Phoenician type, and the god is considered by the worshippers the Tyrian, not the Theban, Hercules. But I will leave these matters to the antiquaries.

1 Herodotus (i. 163) mentions the visit of the Phocæans (who were driven from their own country by Harpagus, the Persian general) to Tartessus and its king Arganthonius. Strabo (iii. 2, 11-14) mentions both, and quotes from Anacreon concerning the king, who is said to have "reigned over Tartessus 150 years." Herodotus says that he reigned 80 years and lived to be 120. Several other ancient authors mention Arganthonius, but all seem to rely upon Herodotus and Anacreon.

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load focus Greek (L. Mendelssohn, 1879)
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  • Cross-references to this page (2):
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), HISPA´NIA
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), TARTESSUS
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